"I don’t really remember formally meeting Denisa; I only knew her as ‘the girl who wore the XU’s Finest track jacket all the time’ while attending pharmacy school at Xavier University of Louisiana. But even without a traditional introduction, she proved to be someone I wouldn’t forget," shares Justin.
After spending six weeks together in a Medicinal Chemistry study group and mentorship program the two exchanged numbers. And throughout the summer of 2010 their relationship developed; from going on random swim dates to Justin volunteering to move Denisa in 100+ degree weather (which Justin sweetly notes that he didn't mind doing!), they were equally summertime smitten over one another.
Although their crushes commenced over the summer, the then students lost touch during the fall semester as a result of their hectic schedules. However, once Christmas break rolled around, Justin found himself eager to pickup where the two left off. "Of course she played hard to get, but I kept my eyes on the prize and by Valentine’s Day we were officially a couple and never looked back," says Justin.
Gander on for more from this beautiful couple, who married in a timeless, black-tie and red wedding in New Orleans. Their evening ceremony, which was indeed nothing short of fairytale also featured a white horse drawn carriage, along with a hint of NOLA cultural elements. Their big-day was beautifully captured by Arte De Vie photography.
Full name of couple: Dr's. Justin & Denisa Charles
Occupations: Both Justin & Denisa are Pharmacist's
Wedding date: 10/30/2015
Wedding Location: Southern Oaks Plantation in New Orleans, LA
Justin: I knew Denisa had to have three things whenever I decided to pop the question: her family had to be there, all eyes had to be on her, and her nails needed to be done. Initially, I planned to propose at her graduation but decided against it because I knew there was a chance of others doing the same thing. So I pondered it a little longer.
I actually purchased the ring on Labor Day while in the mall with her; I just covered as if I was browsing and getting an idea on what she might like, her ring size, etc. With the ring hidden deep in my closet, I plotted for a few months. Finally, I settled on a trip that we were planning to see her cousin play for the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis. I spoke with her parents and got them to help plan a "breakfast" the morning we drove through Memphis.
Everything was ready – except Denisa. After our roadtrip I had to practically force her to put on decent clothes and take off her headscarf. After everyone arrived we all gathered in the kitchen and as her aunt finished grace, I took it from there. It was a day I'll never forget.
Describe your wedding dress!
My wedding gown was a strapless sweetheart A-line styled gown by Casablanca. The bodice had Gossamer Chantilly Lace under finely ruched soft tulle. Although my gown was beautiful, I had a different type of love with it. After purchasing it ten months before the wedding, I lost 30+ pounds and had to have it altered from a size 18 to a size 8 which in my opinion changed the look of it but even though I could tell the difference with the alterations, I had gained much confidence and felt like a million bucks in my gown the
What was wedding shopping like for you?
I never imagined that I’d find my wedding gown on the first go round. I went to a bridal shop by myself just to look around and actually found exactly what I was looking for. I promised my mom that I wouldn’t make the final decision on my dress without her so the very next weekend she drove from Memphis to Jackson, MS to see the dress in person and we both said “yes to the dress” with my twin sister, Danaka on Facetime!
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen Gifts: Robes for the girls and Monogrammed money clips for the guys
Favorite item on wedding menu: "Well considering that we were so ready to party with our guest we didn’t eat although our planner set aside time for us to enjoy the food. But from what we heard the food was amazing as that is what our reception venue is known for!"
First dance song: "For You" by Kenny Lattimore
Did you incorporate any culture into your wedding?
Yes, we utilized a traditional New Orleans style second line for our reception exit led by Denisa’s Godparents, Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Reese Sr. , who are members of the Zulu Social and Pleasure Club. It was hands down the most vibrant event of the entire evening.
What is your best memory from your wedding?
Being escorted around our family and friends on horse and carriage at the end of our ceremony was an amazing experience but just as the horses came full circle and we thought the experience was over fireworks erupted! It was a complete surprise to us and literally left jaws dropped.
What is the best wedding advice you can give to engaged couples?
Enjoy your time together while being engaged. Don’t let others pressure you into quickly getting married and definitely get marriage counseling, its fun and important.
Photography: Atre De Vie Photography
Preparation Location: New Orleans Marriott (Metairie Lakeway)
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Southern Oaks
Bride’s Hair: Hair Artistry by Ashlee Rene
Makeup: Makeup by Kendel
DJ/Band: DJ Groovekid
Catering: Southern Oaks
Florist: Bella Blooms
Event Design/Coordination: Elegance by ACE
Stationery/Calligraphy: Fresh Ink
Cakes: The Royal Cakery
Wedding Rings: Zales
Bride’s Gown Designer: Casablanca
Bridal & Bridesmaids Gown Store: The Bridal Path
Bridesmaids’ Attire Designer: Mori Lee
Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Bridesmaid’s hair: Agnes Weary, Perfection Beauty & Barber
Groom’s attire: Tailor Made Formal